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Career Work Life

The Case For Quiet Quitting

In: prioritizing your wellness. Out: Sleeping under your desk (we’re looking at you, Zuck). 

If your TikTok feeds are anything like ours, you’ve probably seen dozens of people talking about quiet quitting. That, and an abundance of those “one thing about me” videos.

If you’re not, can we just say that we envy you and your wholesome stream of cat content?

What is Quiet Quitting?

Quiet quitting is the rejection of work overtaking life in the whole work-life balance equation. It’s the idea that you don’t need to do more than what you’re being paid for, and that clocking in and out (and getting your job done in the interim) is enough.

The “quitting” part is more of a state of mind than actually giving your two-week notice. Does this sound familiar? It should, because people have been doing this for decades.
Quiet Quitting - balance

Examples of Quiet Quitting

Quiet quitting comes in a variety of forms. Here are a few examples of what a quiet quitter might look like.

  • Only working during designated work hours (i.e. nine a.m. to five p.m.)
  • Not checking your work emails when you’re off the clock
  • Turning down projects outside of the scope of your role that don’t interest you
  • Not going above and beyond at work
  • Refusing to be “available” when you’re on vacation

Quiet Quitting - woman checking email

Quiet Quitting is Really Just Setting Boundaries

We know the phrase is raising hysteria amongst the likes of Kevin O’Leary. And probably your boss. But fear not, employers! The term itself is a bit misleading.

The heart of the idea is that workers should set boundaries with their employers so they can have a fulfilling life outside of work. It’s a lot easier to spend quality time with family and enjoy hobbies when you’re not refreshing your work email every five minutes.

The reality is that in a world of rapid inflation and inequitable salaries, many employees recognize that they’re working above their wage. They’re contractually obligated to work from nine until five and are earning a salary that reflects those hours. Fairly, they want to work their wage and not be plugged in after the clock strikes happy hour. Sounds fair enough, right?
Quiet Quitting - woman photographing

Quiet Quitting is the Counterculture

Quiet quitting is an utter rejection of hustle culture that’s been glorified by girl bosses and startup founders for the first two decades of the 2000s. Americans are tired of selling their souls to jobs that don’t even appreciate their labor.

Younger employees aren’t guaranteed the same benefits as folks who’ve come before us. In a world where a pension was a promise of a lifetime percentage of your salary, working long hours with the same employer for decades was easy to justify.

But for employees who likely won’t even get to reap the benefits of Social Security taxes they’re paying into every month, clocking out at five-on-the-dot is much more appealing. And no, we’re not salty or anything.
Quiet Quitting - hustle mug

Quiet Quitting is Not a Total Lack of Effort

We’ll level with you, employers. They’re in such a frenzy over quiet quitting because of the fear that their employees will suddenly stop trying, at all. And honestly, we don’t blame them.

If that’s how you plan on participating in this trend, we encourage you to reconsider. And not even for your employer’s sake. At the risk of stating the obvious, not trying at work is going to make it a lot harder for you to progress in your career. Raises and promotions will likely pass you by if you decide you’re never going to try again…and your career will end up being eerily similar to the movie Groundhog Day.

Worse than plateauing in your career, totally giving up at work might put your job on the line during periods of economic uncertainty. You don’t want your name to be the first one brought up during layoffs, and right now, a recession is closely looming.
Quiet Quitting - woman packing her stuff at work

Even if you plan on switching industries or actually, officially quitting your job soon, abandoning all effort at work can actually hurt your self-confidence. In his book, So Good They Can’t Ignore You, Cal Newport talks about how feeling competent at work is a key ingredient to job satisfaction.

Final Thoughts About Quiet Quitting

The TLDR? Quiet quitting is actually just setting boundaries, which a normal human being with a personal life they’d like to keep active should do. But if you’re considering abandoning all effort at your job, maybe reconsider…for your own benefit.

By Jess Lohr

Jess is a Cambridge-based, Syracuse-born twenty-something who loves coffee, dogs and stalking Zillow for her future home. Her favorite ways to kill time include strolling through Boston’s cobblestone streets, socializing over a glass of wine, and reading finance books (if only 22-year-old Jess were like this).

She has spent the past 4+ years working in Consumer Insights, and when she’s not working on her 9-5, you can find her pursuing her most recent side hustle as a dog sitter. Jess is co-founder of Adultescence, a podcast and lifestyle website with the mission of helping post-grads navigate adulthood.

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